No question about it, losing 33-29 to Windsor was a stunning upset.
None of the preseason OUA Uncovered polls had Windsor ranked higher than 8th, and that was the Fan poll. The coaches ranked the Lancers 9th among the OUA’s 11 teams. Guelph was ranked 1st or 2nd in all three of the polls. Windsor lost their opener 78-6 while Guelph won fairly easily over UofT.
How does this happen? There are lots of factors but no simple explanation IMO.
Guelph didn’t play terribly. They were much worse in their upset loss at Queen’s last year.
They didn’t come out flat. They started on D and forced a Windsor 2&out. Their first offensive possession was a 66-yard, 7-play touchdown drive.
A quick look at the stats shows that the Gryphons out-gained Windsor 533 yards to 389. The Gryphons had 32 1st downs compared to 21 and three of Windsor’s 1st downs were the result of Guelph penalties. Both teams turned the ball over 4 times via interception or fumble. The fact that one of the Guelph INTs resulted in a pick-6 for the Lancers was very costly.
BUT … Guelph also turned the ball over three times on downs. Twice when they failed to convert on 3rd&short. Windsor was able to convert on a 3rd&short at a critical juncture.
The Gryphons actually ran 90 offensive plays compared to 66 for Windsor. That is a very good number. It really makes me think that being able to dress 55 players as the home team was a real advantage for the Lancers.
It also didn’t hurt Windsor that the Gryphons only dressed 7 OLs, 5 of whom are relatively inexperienced. In addition to LT Jaylen Guthrie, starting Centre Eric Starczala was absent. Daniel Urbshas moved into the Centre position and Colin Jerome took his spot at Guard in his first-ever CIS start. Freshman Coulter Woodmansey and first-time dresser Nikko Morito-Barber also saw game action.
Star running back Johnny Augustine didn’t play. I’m not surprised after seeing a UofT player fall on the back of his extended foot in game 1. Mack Jones got the start at Tailback but never returned to the game after a 1st Q injury. That left the Gryphons unable to use their 3-back set, or Diamond formation, which has become a key piece of their offense.
There were some big plays that shaped the outcome of the game – the pick-6 and the short pass that turned into a 54-yd TD for the Lancers – but maybe the difference was that Windsor had more to play for. Their season was on the line. For the Gryphons this game was just one step in their season.
Ultimately, I look at this loss the same way I did the Queen’s loss last year and … the 50-9 blowout loss to Mac in the 2012 season opener … forget it and move on !
Game Stories and Links:
OUA.tv Archived Broadcast – complete with the technical difficulties that marred the early part of the broadcast. The difficulties are over at 10:12 mark.
GoLancers.ca: Lancer Football stuns defending OUA Champs
Gryphons.ca: Gryphons upset 33-29 by Lancers
Gryphons TeamApp: Upset in Windsor
“This is just another game in the dust, basically. We’re looking forward to our next game against Queen’s. All we can do is get over this hump and get back to where we are. We’re the defending Yates Cup champions and went to the (Mitchell Bowl). By getting over bumps like this, that’s what’s going to make us champions.” – Daniel Palmer-Salmon
No surprise here. The Gryphons dropped from 6th to 10th in this week’s CIS Top 10 poll.